Neuromuscular adaptation – train your muscles to train your brain to train your muscles to train your brain to…
You, dear readers, are a knowledge-hungry bunch who already knows that exercise is good for you, but did you know HOW good it is for you? The days of the dumb-jock stereotype have passed, as we now know that exercise has considerable impact (an odd choice of word not to imply concussion) on the brain’s ability to connect with the rest of the body via neural pathways.
Geezer Jocks rejoice! Exercise induced brain repair or reorganization is commonly referred to as neuroplasticity. Every time you perform an action, correctly or incorrectly, your brain “learns” how to create more efficient neural pathways. Think of an efficient neural pathway as Interstate 5 from Canada to Mexico. A straight shot.
Think of an inefficient neural pathway as the 101/405 Interchange in Los Angeles - from Southern California to the depths of hell with delays and a potential for overheating; not so straight of a shot.
The more you practice a movement (pattern) the smoother it gets as your brain and muscles integrate and innervate. The more you introduce and practice foreign patterns, the more stimulated, and ultimately smarter, your brain and muscles will become!
Here are two examples; brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. You are now stuck in LA traffic without a map and have created a toothpaste-based Jackson Pollack all over your bathroom vanity. The next time you approach a set of stairs, lead with your non-dominant foot as opposed to your dominant foot. Take note of how that feels and how your body responds. It will adapt, your body will get “smarter” and the world will be a happier and more interesting place!